Date: May 25, 2016
Contact: Bryan Black, 512-424-6951
AUSTIN – Texas is reaching out to its veterans and their families to help ease the psychological wounds of war.
Texas Veterans + Family Alliance, a Health and Human Services Commission program, will award four grants through Phase I totaling $885,000 to help veterans and their families who are struggling with mental health issues, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor announced Wednesday.
"Our veterans have courageously given of themselves in order to defend our liberties," Commissioner Traylor said. "The State of Texas has continuously brought forth innovative solutions to address the needs of our veterans and their families. Sen. Jane Nelson was the driving force behind SB 55, and her leadership on mental health issues will improve the quality of life for true Texas heroes."
The program was established by Sen. Nelson's Senate Bill 55, which provides $20 million of state funds to be matched with local and private funds for mental health support for veterans and their families. Texas Veterans + Family Alliance focuses on community collaborations addressing the mental health needs of veterans and their families that are not currently being met.
"As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I am a big believer in this program because it brings the state, local organizations and the private sector together to meet the specific needs of veterans in their communities. These grant projects are going to make it easier for veterans and their families to access the mental health services they need," Senator Nelson said. "As we prepare to honor those on Memorial Day who have made the supreme sacrifice to defend our freedoms, I'm very pleased Texas is reaching out to those who suffer from the trauma of war even after coming home."
The program now moves to Phase II. HHSC will distribute $20 million to help veterans and their families across the state and anticipates awarding the grants by the end of the summer.
The following organizations are the apparent awardees under Phase I pending final contract signatures:
The United Way of Denton County - $175,199 to create a new case management system structure and a resource directory and web page for veterans.
Center for Brain Health in Dallas - $388,818 to address mental health services gaps by using high-performance brain training called Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training.
Emergence Health Network in El Paso County and Fort Bliss - $223,324 to expand capacity to meet the mental health needs of veterans and their families by increasing community participation.
Texas Panhandle Centers - $97,759 to address priority needs and gaps in behavioral health services for veterans and their families and establish constructive community partnerships.
Each awardee will add matching funds to those projects, bringing the total funds to $1.8 million for the pilot projects. The Texas Veterans + Family Alliance projects will serve more than 1,000 veterans and family members and each project will bring together a coalition of community organizations to reach out to veterans and their families.
Projects funded by the grant program are selected through a competitive statewide request for proposal process. The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, the pilot program administrator, works with organizations to help identify matching funds for the pilot project.
Learn more about this public-private partnership at http://texasstateofmind.org/tvfa/.